May 20, 2021

Government run testing centers will close in Palm Beach County and throughout the state this week. The mass testing site at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, will swab its last nose on Saturday. As more people get vaccinated and the number of new cases continues to fall, demand for tests has fallen dramatically, according to the county’s health director Dr. Alina Alonso. To make sure free testing is available in underserved communities, the health care district will continue to offer drive-thru testing on weekdays from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Belle Glade clinic. Testing and vaccines will be offered to clients of its clinics, scattered throughout the county.

Last week, Palm Beach County Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy announced face masks will be optional for students next school year, but will still be required for the remainder of the current academic year. Hendry County Superintendent Michael Swindle decided the same at this week’s school board meeting for, communities in and around Clewiston and LaBelle. Swindle, much like Dr. Fennoy, says if things take a turn for the worse, he would exercise his authority to reissue mask and other mandates, that are in the best interest of the administration and the students. Next week will be the last week of school for the academic year in Hendry County. Mr. Swindle says the goal for the 2021-2022 school year, is to bring all teachers and students back to the classroom full time.

Congratulations to Coach Dunbar on his retirement and winning Teacher of a Lifetime. Coach Dunbar has devoted 37 years to Hendry County Schools, with 31 of them being at LaBelle High School. Coach Dunbar has helped at-risk students graduate high school, and, taught countless students how to drive through the Drivers Ed program. He has coached and mentored our children and students since 1990. LaBelle High School administrators said, “We cannot put into words what this man means to LaBelle High School. We love you, Coach! Thank you for all that you have done! Now, go enjoy your retirement!!”

An investigation into a Hendry County robbery is now being led by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms. The robbery happened yesterday at Capital Pawn on Hickpoochee Avenue in LaBelle. Sources say the robber got away with stolen guns and possibly some other items from the shop. According to HCSO, an unknown white or Hispanic male dressed in law enforcement apparel entered the store impersonating a law enforcement officer. The suspect was described as wearing a law enforcement style uniform with a badge and holster. It’s not clear if the suspect was armed when he entered. Once inside the store, the suspect began giving orders to employees and patrons before tying them up. After everyone was secured, the suspect took items from the store before getting away from scene with an undisclosed number of stolen items. There were no reports of injuries due to the robbery. HCSO and ATF are investigating together to track down the suspect and make an arrest.

The driver of a stolen dump truck has died after leading deputies on a chase on SR 29 Wednesday evening. The Hendry County Sheriffs Office requested Collier County’s assistance regarding a stolen dump truck heading into Immokalee on SR 29. Collier deputies tried to stop the truck as it crashed into another vehicle on New Market Road, causing injuries to the driver. The stolen dump truck continued driving recklessly, crashing again and fleeing into Farm Workers Village. Law enforcement fired at the truck, the truck crashed into a canal, the driver was pronounced deceased. The cause of death has not been confirmed. This is an ongoing investigation.

Florida reported 45new COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 36,999. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were2,274 people with the virus, hospitalized in the state. Since March 2020, 93,598people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 210newpatients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Wednesday. FDOH reports 7,728,153 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series. As of Wednesday, 9,749,726 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have partnered to offer a mobile vaccination unit at the LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park on today from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The community will have the opportunity to choose from the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine or the Pfizer Vaccine. For minors, a parent must be with them and sign a consent form. Walk-ins are accepted and no appointments is required.